As it turns out, we did not have to track down a stolen weapon cabinet, nor enter the password “knockers” into any computer systems to obtain one of the rarest and most elusive video games ever made. We just had to wait a few days.
Last weekend, the long rumor Goldeneye 007 The remake project, which was officially managed by Microsoft and Rare before it was summed up canceled, ended up in a fan. This Spanish game streamer’s video of the game made the rounds, and four days after his YouTube upload, someone decided to go one step further and upload the full, working ROM for public consumption.
And Ars Technica has it.
The upload, which we discovered on a publicly accessible website with no passwords or logins, includes an NFO file dated August 24, 2007, complete with an elaborate ASCII-art title card that you can expect from a hacking or game-ripping group. This one has a unique name, but which we have not seen before: “Fyodorovna.” If that name escapes you, it’s the middle name of the fictional Bond character Natalya Simonova, who largely appears in the film and video game of the same name.
The resulting 7Z file weighs 231MB and contains a folder named just “Bean”, which was the game’s original code name – and the name of the outdated Xbox 360 Partner Network service, which the attached NFO says these files were retrieved from in August 2007. was previously used by owners of Xbox 360 development kits to share game projects under development, but access was shut down near the end of the Xbox 360’s life cycle after game leaks were attributed to the unprotected file-sharing ecosystem.
No boundaries, no fears, no substitutes
I easily booted the files on the Xevia emulator using Windows 10 without zero customization or solutions at the end – partly because the included ROM was patched to not require the use of an Xbox 360 dev set. Other than a few stuttering while the game loads mid-mission assets or sound effects into memory, everything seems to work floating, even when you maximize Xevia in a 4K full-screen window on my RTX 3080 test rig.
This means, among other things, the canceled game’s most exciting promise – classic Goldeneye 007 split-screen dead matches, only with updated graphics, updated textures and a locked update of 60 frames per second – works without problems. (Teenaged me, which played much less than 30 fps Gold eye on the N64, can hardly believe it.) Although I would have loved to access this kind of lovingly updated Gold eye action on an official retail release of the game, this Fyodorovna version on my PC, with four Xbox game connectors connected, must be sufficient.
The leaks on Fyodorovna have introduced a few other adjustments, including one not seen in Graslu00’s video from a few days ago: native 21: 9 resolution support. In addition, some of the game’s menu options have been removed by default, especially Xbox Live online mode (which not surprisingly does not work as enabled in the Graslu00 version). But “systemlink” remains, which means that savvy users are likely to figure out how to link online sessions of this remake using Xlink Kai before long.
It’s also a real treat to finally see how the Xbox 360 project implemented a “switch updated graphics” button. Tap the Xbox bumper’s right bumper at any time, whether in single-player or multiplayer, and the entire game will transform from newly updated graphics, textures and geometry to a seemingly 1: 1 match for the N64 original – complete with console countdown, smeary anti-aliasing. Funny, this building lets some the player can switch graphics back and forth at any time, and can not be disabled, so get ready for split screen action to be interrupted by the one that one of your multiplayer friends likes to swap graphics as a distraction.
As for the specifications of the game, the Spanish streamer Graslu00 already spoke far to Ars about how this game handles mechanically – look for the bullet point list on the other side of this article – and I can immediately confirm that his descriptions are on point. AI, character speed, even the turn of a sniper rifle in your hand that held like a melee weapon: It’s all here. (The same link also includes a historical refresh of this lost project, in case you’re still wondering what the heck’s going on with a completely remastered multiplayer map like Temple.)
The top particle gallery focuses largely on things I did not see in Graslu00’s upload from Friday, especially the new to old comparisons that were activated by pressing the right bumper in the middle of the game. Should I discover anything else that is fascinating while playing the Xbox 360 version in the end, I will be sure to let you know. (Which I do, by the way, because the game’s choice of multiplayer arena is not completely unlocked without doing so.) Otherwise, if you’ll excuse me, I have, uh, work to do. And if you’re trying to blame me for playing this weirdly picked ROM, I’ll answer by asking if all the vodka martinis ever dampen the screams of the men you killed.
Microsoft / Rare listing image